This past week has been crazy, but absolutely amazing!! Leaving the MTC was bitter sweet. I'm definitely going to miss my district and teachers and such, but it's good to know that they're all going out to preach the word too!!
Two Friday's ago, we had In-Field Orientation. At first I thought it was going to be kind of boring and not worth my time, but it was actually quite enjoyable. The instructors had a lot of good insight on how we should always have a vision of what we want in the future and how to work well with members. The whole day was pretty spiritually uplifting. That night, my district had a little fiesta with a pinata that Hermana Higgs' mom sent. It was a blast until a security guard came by and told us that we couldn't use the bat anymore. Oh well, we didn't know!
Last Sunday was really sweet! We were able to sing our song in Sacrament Meeting. It went really well and I was so proud of our elders. Especially Elder Tanner because he was having issues singing his part, but he nailed it on Sunday. After Sacrament Meeting we went on our last Temple walk as a district. It was really peaceful because we got to go when hardly anyone was there. That night, I asked our elders for a blessing because I was stressing a lot about going to California the next day. It was really neat to have all four elders around me using the priesthood. The blessing helped a lot and I didn't feel as nervous or inadequate.
Monday, HERMANA HIGGS AND I FLEW TO CALIFORNIA!! On the way to Denver (our layover) I sat next to a Bishop from Salt Lake and on the way to Santa Barbara I sat next to this cute little old man on his way to see his grandkids. I got to share a little bit about the church with him! It was a little nerve wracking, but I did it!! Once we got to Cali, we met President Castro, his wife, and his kids, all of whom are wonderful and sweet people. We did some orientation at the Ventura Stake Center, had an interview with President Castro, and then stayed at members homes that night. In my interview with Pres. Castro, he told me that when he was a bishop in New York, one of his counselors was Bro. Houghton from 4th ward! Crazy, right? It's such a small world in the church. In the interview, he told me that when I walked in, he could tell that I was going to be a very successful missionary and bring many souls unto Christ. I was really touched by this. He also told me, after I said the closing prayer in Spanish, that I speak Spanish wonderfully and asked me if I spoke Spanish before the mission! Ha to all of you that thought I sounded white! He said I pronounced things perfectly and had excellent grammar.
The next morning, I met my new companion!! Her name is Hermana Romero and I absolutely love her!! I got really lucky because she's a native speaker! Hopefully she'll help me speak spanish a lot better. We're assigned to the Paso Robles 1st Ward and the Paso Robles Spanish 3rd Branch (NOT BAKERSFIELD!!). I get to work in English AND Spanish AND we're white washing (taking the place of the elders that used to be in the area...we're the first sister missionaries in the ward for 20 years!)! It's get even better though. Hermana Higgs and her companion are also assigned to the 3rd Branch!! What are the chances?! I get to see her almost everyday still!! After the transfer meeting, I found out that I get to be the designated driver for our car! Hopefully I don't crash it!! ;) One more crazy thing from that day...Nathaniel James (one of my FHE brothers from first semester) is serving in Ventura right now while he's waiting for his visa to Mexico!! Weird!! I got to talk to him a little bit before we had to head to Paso. When we got to Paso, we went straight to a dinner appointment with a recent convert Noel Foltz and her non-member family. They're so sweet! We then went to the Laughmiller's (a member family) ...we're living in their basement and their awesome.
On Thursday, we taught a few people, but one of the highlights was teaching a homeless progressing investigator in Spanish. At the end of the lesson, I got to invite him to be baptized and he said yes!! We had dinner with a family from 1st ward and found out that Sister Adams is the writer of this really popular food blog called Artsy McGoo (sp?). The food that she fed us was amazing!!
On Friday, we also taught a few people, but the highlight was going to see another progressing investigator, Edgar, but instead teaching his daughter, Ruth. I got to recite the first vision in Spanish and testify. It wasn't perfect, but the spirit was really strong. We surprised Noel with another visit and she was really happy to see us. Every time we visit Noel and her family, we have to drive on dirt roads to go to the middle of no where. Almost all of our investigators live in the hills and it's gorgeous. The roads are so bad that we're trying to get the truck back that the elders before us had. My dream!! The area here is SO beautiful too! Noel's daughter, Jane, is 8 years old and wants to be baptized, but she can't because her dad won't let her. We're praying for her everyday and hopefully her dad's heart will be soften so that she can soon!
On Saturday, we taught a lot more people. One of the recent converts that we visited, Denise, is super sweet and her grandson, Elijah, is too. Before we left, we gave Hermana Romero and I little notes and pictures and wanted to take a picture with us before we left. When we took a dinner break at Subway, we passed the Mid-State Fair Grounds. We found out that Tim McGraw, Kip Moore, Rascal Flatts, and The Band Perry are coming next month, but we can't go!! Some of my favorite groups/people are coming!! Oh well!! I'm doing something a lot more important.
Church yesterday was awesome! We had to keep going back and forth between the wards so it was kind of hectic, but we met all sorts of wonderful people. There's only like three or four families that attend the Spanish Branch, so numbers are kind of scarce. I had to play the piano in Relief Society, conduct the music in Sacrament Meeting and say the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting. I was grateful that my musical abilities were able to come in handy! We were able to watch the Training Broadcast yesterday and found out that we're going to be able to use Facebook to do missionary work as well as all sorts of other websites and technology. I loved how they mentioned a lot about member missionary work and how members need to do more searching so the missionaries don't have to. The members here seemed really excited to get to work and hope back home people feel the same way. I also got to see Natalie and a bunch of the Hermanas and Elders from the MTC that were in my zone!
Here in the mission, we're able to go to the temple during the month of our birthday. Although my birthday isn't until October, Hermana Romero's is actually tomorrow, so we get to got to LA tomorrow!! YAY!! I didn't think I'd be able to go this soon, but I'm so grateful I get the opportunity to!
I know that there's not too much detail in this email, but there was just so much to fit in! Hopefully next week I'll be able to give more info about more of our investigators.
Love you all and wish you all the best!! You're all in my prayers and I hope you're all touched by what I've had to say.